Set Your Mind at Ease With These Best Foods to Stockpile For An Emergency

It’s Easy If You Do It Smart

Foods to Stockpile For An Emergency
Empty grocery store shelves of canned goods before a hurricane or snow storm. (Orlando,FL/USA-8/30/19)

With everything that's happening in the world, it may not be a bad idea to put together your emergency food stash. During any emergency, your family's greatest need is food, clean water, and other supplies. Preparing for worst-case scenarios when things go awry, is always wise. Keep reading to get some ideas about the best foods to stockpile for an emergency situation.

I've been working on a list of the best foods to stockpile for an emergency situation and a preparedness pantry for just over a year now. People often tell me if you can survive the first 72 hours following a disaster, then you are much more likely to survive afterward.

One of the main things we need for survival after water is food. The best foods to stash for an emergency are high-energy, high-protein foods. In a disaster you want calories! So how do we put together and stockpile foods for an emergency?

Water and Water Purification Tablets

We need water to survive more than we need food. Staying hydrated is a must because dehydration is a quick killer.

You will need to stockpile at least 3-4 days of drinking water to keep each person of your family going. Plan on having at least one gallon of water per person per day. This provides provisions for a one-half gallon of drinking water and the other half gallon for washing up.

After that, you may need to make use of other sources of water from rivers or ponds. The water from these other sources can be full of bacteria and germs, so water purification tablets are a way to get rid of unwanted bugs. Make sure you have a stash of these available.

Choose Foods With a Long Shelf-life

Because you never know when a disaster is going to happen or how long it's going to last, you need to stockpile foods with a longer shelf life. Make a list of everything in your emergency stockpile and then be sure to check expiration dates every 6-12 months.

Of course, no food in the world is going to last forever. But, there are types of food which will last you a considerable amount of time.

So, before you buy anything, check the shelf life. Foods in tins and dried foods are best. Most canned foods can last for approximately two years on average. Most freeze-dried foods can last for much longer.

Don’t Forget You Will Need to Cook the Food

It's all very well and good stockpiling food, but how are you going to cook it? Some foods you can eat cold, like sardines, beans, etc., but you will need to cook certain foods.

Make sure you have some kind of equipment to cook. This could be an open fire, a camping stove, or a solar oven, or a portable gas stove. Just remember that gas isn't going to last forever either, so put some thought into this.

Keep Your Stockpile Fresh by Rotating Your Foods

Over time, it’s important to keep rotating your supplies. You want to use the ones with shorter dates first and separate the ones with a longer shelf life.

If you are storing things in your kitchen cupboards, use a rotation system. Place the newer items toward the back and bring the older foods to the front.

Best Foods to Stockpile For an Emergency

So, now you know you need to put together an emergency food stash, just in case of a disaster event, but you have no idea what to actually stash?

Look at it this way – packing for a holiday is bad enough, how do you know what you’re going to need for two weeks? But packing for a disaster? Very, very difficult indeed!

For your convenience, I will link to Amazon suggestions to get you started on the best foods to stockpile for an emergency situation.

Related Content: How to Start a Food Prepper Pantry PDF checklist


foods to stockpile for an emergency
Dried pasta will last for 1-2 years beyond “best by” date.

The great news about a pasta stockpile is that practically everyone loves it and it stores well for a long period of time. Also, pasta is inexpensive and a good source of carbohydrates.

You need to consume pasta within 1-2 years past a “best by” date.

To buy: Pasta

Whole-wheat Crackers and Grains

foods to stockpile for an emergency
Unopened crackers will generally be good for about 6-9 months.
Whole grain crackers are versatile. You can substitute them for bread and they last much longer. You can even make sandwiches from them and due to their high-fat content, they will help you to feel fuller longer. Just look for whole grain crackers without high-fructose corn syrup. You may want to vacuum-pack them to extend their shelf-life.

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Foods to stockpile for an emergency
In an airtight, sealed container rice can last up to six months. You can also store rice in the refrigerator to double the shelf-life to one year.

Rice is a universal staple food and another good source of carbohydrates. It stores for a long period of time, especially if you buy the wholegrain variety.
To buy: Rice

Dried Beans

foods to stockpile for an emergency
You can store dried beans indefinitely, but they will begin to lose moisture after 1-2 years. You will need to soak them longer if they are older than two years.

Beans are easy to cook, high in calories, and a fantastic source of protein. Dried beans will also take up less space in your emergency pantry than canned beans.
To buy: Beans and Lentils

Canned Meats

foods to stockpile for an emergency
Unopened canned meats have a shelf life of one year and should be used before two years.

Many different types of meat come in a can. Tuna, salmon, sardines, chicken, and beef are all vital to have in your stockpile.

During an emergency situation or natural disaster you're likely to find meat at a premium. So stockpiling meat will ensure your protein needs are met because canned meats last a long time.
To Buy: Canned Meats

Canned Vegetables and Fruits

foods to stockpile for an emergency
the expiration dates on canned vegetables or fruits is from 1-4 years.

Fresh fruits and vegetables won't last very long so canned versions are the way to go to get your essential vitamins and minerals.

To Buy: Canned Vegetables
To Buy: Canned Fruits

Dried Fruit

foods to stockpile for an emergency
Most dried fruits can be stored for one year at a temp of 60 degrees F. 6 months at 80 degrees.

Dried fruits provide potassium and fiber plus they are a delicious, sweet, healthy snack.

To buy: Dried Fruit


foods to stockpile for an emergency
Hard cheeses have the longest shelf-life at approximately 2-4 months. Canned cheese can last up to 5 years.

In general cheese won't last long either. But if you can find a variety that is waxed on the outside, it will last for much longer. If you find mold growing on your cheese, it is perfectly safe to cut if off.

Canned cheeses can also be an option because they have a long shelf life.
To Buy: Cheese

Nut Butters

foods to stockpile for an emergency
Nut butter will keep for two to three months, but it will keep twice as long in the refrigerator.

Nut butters are a good source of energy because they are full of healthy fats and protein. You may even consider the brands that do not need refrigeration after opening.
To Buy: Nut butter

Powdered Milk

foods to stockpile for an emergency
Powdered milk can store indefinitely if unopened. Some survival stores sell powdered milk labeled 25 years!

Again, fresh milk won't be an option, so powdered milk is good to have for calcium needs and it lasts a long time.
To Buy: Powdered Milks

Nuts and Trail Mix

best foods to stockpile for an emergency
Store trail mix in sealed containers. It should be fine for at least six months. You can freeze trail mix for longer storage.

Just like nut butter these are high-energy foods, so stock up on them! They are healthy and convenient for snacking during an emergency. To prevent the nuts from oxidizing and losing their freshness, look for vacuum-packed containers.
To Buy: Trail Mix

Canned Soups

foods to stockpile for an emergency
Canned soups can be stored for two to five years.

There is nothing more satisfying than a bowl of warm soup. If need be, you can eat soups and chilis straight out of the can and they provide a variety of nutrients. Look for low salt options.
To buy: Soups

Coffee and Tea

Foods to stockpile for an emergency
Coffee last for 3-5 months at room temperature but can last 1-2 years in a freezer

Your chances of survival better if you have coffee and tea. 😉 Besides keeping you alert and giving you energy, it can help you feel more full. There are lots of ways to store coffee or you can also buy freeze dried coffee. It is available in individual packets, or by the jar.
To buy: Coffee
To buy: Tea

Cooking Oil

foods to stockpile for an emergency
Unopened oils should be fine for at least two years.

Oils are a necessity for health and tasty food. Always remember the flavor is in the fat! If you want your emergency pantry to be well-rounded, you should stockpile cooking oils. The best ones to consider are, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and butter.
To buy: Cooking oils

Salt, Pepper, and Sugar

Foods to stockpile for an emergency
Salt can last indefinitely and pepper has a shelf life of about 4 years if stored properly. If unopened sugar never spoils. Opened, it can last around 2 years.

You will want a basic supply of seasonings and sweeteners to improve the flavor of your foods.
To buy: Salt and Pepper
To buy: Sugar

Spices and Flavorings

foods to stockpile for an emergency
Spices lose their potency after about a year, but whole spices can last longer at about 4 years.

Stockpiled food could on occasion become bland, however if you have spices in your stash, you can make things taste spicier and different.

Spices will not only help your emergency food taste better, they are also powerful medicinal herbs. Your emergency stockpile is not complete until your spice (and medicine) cabinet is full. Peppermint, thyme, fennel and rosemary are all rich in healing properties.
To buy: Spices

Electrolyte Drinks

foods to stockpile for an emergency
Most electrolyte drinks contain water, electrolytes, (salt), minerals, flavor, sugar or sweetener. None of these ingredients will ever become unsafe to drink over time. But, they will be better within the “best before” date

Electrolyte drinks will help you stay hydrated if water or other fluids are scarce. Just make sure you choose brands without additives or artificial sweeteners.
To buy: Electrolyte Drinks

These staple items should form the basis of your emergency food stash shopping list. They are the foundation for a healthy, long-lasting, and delicious stockpile to keep you going for a considerable length of time.

Conclusion of Foods to Stockpile for an Emergency

When putting together your emergency food stash, it can be helpful to think ahead and consider these things.

Think About Your Health

We don’t eat food simply for pleasure, we eat it for fuel and health too. Your emergency food stash needs to have that in mind. You need to think about nutritional value and calories when you are shopping for your stash.

Stock up on foods that give you the most vitamins and minerals needed for the greatest health. Make sure you have a good supply of carbohydrates, good fats, low salt content, and protein in your diet.

Stay Hydrated

You will know that water is essential, and you will have a few days’ supplies at the ready, but what do you do after that? Well, water purification tablets are essential. This will give you peace of mind if you need to drink water from other sources that may have bacteria.

Think Multi-functional

When looking at foods to buy for your stash, you need to think outside the box. This means you want to consider foods you can use for more than one thing. Rice, pasta, and beans are fantastic for food stashing because they can form the basis of many different meals. Plus they have the added benefit of being healthy and cheap too.

Don't Forget the Energy Snacks 

Nuts, crackers, and granola bars are all ways to get an energy boost, whilst also being long-lasting foods. Most have complex carbohydrates, proteins, and sugar to give you an energy boost. When disaster is close, sugar can be useful too!

Protein is Vitally Important 

During a disaster situation, you are likely to find that meat is at a premium. This means you need to think of other ways to get your protein needs met.

Canned meats are fantastic for long storage, and they also check that protein box, while keeping your energy levels where they need to be.

If you are a vegetarian, you can get your protein needs met with canned beans and rice. Make sure these make a very prominent appearance on your stash shopping list.

Getting Back to Basics

It’s easy to go off the rails and start thinking about luxury items. But just remember to take care of cooking basics when putting together your emergency food stash.

Cooking oil is a definite requirement, as well as spices, salt, and sugar. If you have bland (emergency food can be) then having a variety of spices available is a great way to add flavor and medicinal value to food.

Remember to Rotate Your Supplies

When you are putting together your stash, over time you are going to need to get rid of a few old items which you never got to use. A good way to be as cost-effective as possible with this is to rotate your supplies on a regular basis. When you buy something for your stash, put it at the back of your box or cupboard, and bring the older things towards the front. This means that the new items are kept for longer, and the older items are used up before they run out of their sell-by or use-by date.

If you can stick to these considerations when you are putting together your emergency food stash, then you should have all bases covered in the event of a disaster situation.

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The information presented here is in no way meant to serve as medical advice. If you are experiencing symptoms of any kind, please consult with your physician.

Foods to Stockpile for an emergency
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